Advertiser Know Thy Prospects

The following is my reply to a recent media consultant question.

Q: “I’m a media consultant, and buyer. My clients serve the pet industry. Several of my clients are interested in the recent explosion of the (web based magazines catering to niches/target audiences) like Daily Candy and Bowzer. They want to advertise in ezines instead of other less direct methods. I am curious about buying advertising in this medium, as it seems so direct and specific. Do you think the ezine is a media fad, or is it only going to get bigger?”

A: Regardless of the medium, advertisers must have a clear idea who their prospects are before they spend any money to reach them.

If an advertiser expects to acquire new customers profitably they should expect their advertising dollars to produce a measurable return on investment. What business can afford to do otherwise?

Any price paid for advertising failure is too high.

Most advertising is sold on a cost per thousand (CPM) people reached basis. Of the thousand people reached, there are both active (prospects) and inactive audience members. Inactive audience members are the remaining people who aren’t in the market for the product or service being advertised (often as many as one thousand).

If you can’t reach active prospects directly through a traditional cost per thousand advertising model, it is likely your prospects aren’t being reached and served by traditional media at which point ezines may become an attractive option.

To qualify potential ezines for your advertising investment, ask the following questions.

There are two types of ezine – email or those posted on websites.

Ask the media representative if they have any of the following data:

Email ezine:

How they acquired their list

Geographic data and targeting
Age & Gender
Income
Education levels
Lifestyle information
List size
Average open rate
Average bounce rate
List hygiene protocols
Third party or other form of circulation verification
CPM
Repeat advertisers

Web post ezine:

Traffic sources and ratios
Unique visitors to advertisement
Average session length
Average page views per session
Geographic distribution
Age & Gender
Income
Education
Lifestyle information
Alexa rank
Any site statistical data
CPM
Repeat advertisers

After your client has verified the media’s claims regarding their audience size, makeup and location determine your client’s potential conversion ratio per thousand audience members reached.

If the worst case cost per thousand reached doesn’t produce an acceptable return on their advertising investment consider using your audience profile information to reach prospects directly through targeted advertising like Google Adwords.

Instead of the traditional media model measurement of cost per thousand audience members Google Adwords lets you reach prospects on a cost per person basis.

To justify either form of advertising, determine how many active audience members (prospects) you will need to reach and convert into customers then compare those figures with how many inactive audience members you can afford to reach and not convert (if any) into customers before making an advertising investment decision.

An active audience of one more is worth exponentially more than an inactive audience of a thousand.

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